Mabat Community Seminar: Multiculturalism and Activism

In the process of growing our new Intercultural Community, we have come to understand that in a community like ours, there are different levels of involvement. They range from a core group of members who want to be active partners in leading community initiatives and activities, to more peripheral, passive levels of involvement.

One of our goals is to nurture and guide this core group of members to become the ultimate leaders of the community. As a peer-led community, we will guarantee that community activities and events will be the product of community members’ ideas and will provide answers to their real needs. Also, peer leadership will facilitate the expansion of the core group, providing an attractive option for more passive members.

This is the reason we brought together an amazing group of committed community members for a three-day seminar. Participants comprised current participants and alumni of Mabat’s intercultural programs on college campuses. The aim of the seminar was to learn about social action and social change, to plan new initiatives and to form working groups that will spearhead Mabat community projects.

We decided to hold the seminar in Haifa – a city that constitutes an important focus point of our work and which stands as perhaps the most optimistic example of shared society in Israel. We took an intercultural tour of the city, where we encountered many examples of activism and civil society initiatives in a variety of fields and using diverse operational strategies. The initiatives we encountered included the bilingual (Hebrew-Arabic) preschool Hand in Hand, the Pride and Tolerance Community House serving the LGBTQ community, the local garin torani (religious Jewish communities that settle in less privileged areas), the local community garden initiative, and many others. We also learned about a different sort of activism – everything from graffiti to social businesses and more.

On the last day of the seminar, we spent the whole day deepening our learning and planning for the future. We asked participants to brainstorm ideas for community initiatives, dowing upon projects they are familiar with. We got to hear about a wide variety of programs, particularly among the Arab community, whose community work sometimes lands under the radar of Jewish Israelis. We heard about many inspiring examples, including initiatives to help refugees near and far, and mass networking events for young people to help one another.

Out of all of the great action ideas, we decided to focus on three initiatives, which the Community Leadership Core will lead: 1. A program for joint nature trips and environmental action; 2. A joint language study initiative for Arabic and Hebrew; and an awareness building project surrounding mental health. We finished up with a work plan, and lots of energy to take the new Mabat community to great places ?.

Are you curious about the possibilities? Want to join in the action? Suggest or spearhead new initiatives? Or join as participants in future activities? You’re welcome to drop us a line and follow us for updates. Stay tuned for more information.

The Mabat Intercultural Community is made possible thanks to the support of the United States Embassy of Israel.